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Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

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Copenhagen, Denmark
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13 posts
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Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Hello,

We are travelling to Sri Lanka (from Denmark) in February/Marsh for 18 days. We are an Danish/French family of 4 (the kids are 5 and 2).

I have a million questions but from all reading I have done I have come up with an itieray..and It would be great if you´d be so kind to tell me what you think about it? (It will be ready in a day or two)

Regarding accomodation. I wish to stay at places with a pool (for the kids) and wifi if possible for us. Also I want us to stay in the same room as I don´t feel safe leaving the kids in a different room . When looking for hotels on the net, most of them will charge us 2 rooms and reviews are´nt always good!

Can you recommend any (guest house, B&B, hotel) in Negombo, Habarana (the cinnamon lodge looks great a bit pricy of course!)Kandy, Ela, Yala and Mirissa?

Looking forward to hearing from you :o)

Thank-you!

Virginie

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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52,059 posts
176 reviews
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1. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Hi Virginie,

Many hotels have triple rooms and then hopefully for the youngest a baby/toddler cot, maybe even a foldable one you bring yourself, will do; so just try to select on hotels with triples. These rooms are not always shown in the list on e.g. Agoda or Expedia or Bookingcom but a Lankan operator is able to get them for you.

Guesthouses don't have pools as a rule of thumb and neither have B&B's, hotels (starting at 2-3 stars) is what you'd need. And in Ella you won't find pools except in one very upmarket place, generally also it's too cool climate there. Some suggestions:

* Negombo: any of the Jetwing hotels, but lots of more affordable options with pool exist too

* Habarana indeed Lodge is topclass and nextdoor Chaaya also great. Alternative bases there are Giritale (with cheaper and still quite decent hotels like Royal Lotus and Giritale hotels) and Sigiriya, with Sigiriya Village being our family favourite

* Kandy e.g. Hilltop, Thilanka, Serene Gardens and Suisse (the latter only the renovated rooms)

* Ella: Motel Ella after renovation is topclass, but a bit overpriced. Guesthouses like Ambiente are also quite decent. December or January a huge new hotel is supposed to open, no name baptising yet, with a quite good price/value ratio - waiting for more details ourselves too for our upcoming small March trip.

* Yala: the ones with best price/quality ratio are in Tissa, e.g. Priyankara; but absolute topclass is Chaaya Wild, with lots of animals on the ground too

* Mirissa plenty of choice, Mandara is topclass

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Copenhagen, Denmark
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13 posts
1 review
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2. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

You are just amazing! how can you be so spot on and reply so fast! t

Thanks a lot! I will look into your suggestions!

Virginie

Copenhagen, Denmark
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13 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Hello again,

I hope you do not mind me asking…I have a lot of questions as I am preparing my trip.

1-Is it better to book the hotel straight with the hotel rather than booking.com? (need to ensure the booking is done correctly (2 kids sharing our room and the little one needs a cod)

2-With the 2 kids we are not planning to visit too many temples… a couple Buddha s will suffice. However we would very much like to stay close to a village and visit a local school or also a monk school so our kids get to mix with the local kids a bit? Maybe when we are in Mirisa as it will be more quiet there? Any recommendation in that regards?

3-We plan to take the train from Kandy to Ella with our 2 kids and the luggage? (is there room for the luggage? A restaurant in the train? ) It seems to be a long journey…and stopping in Eliya is tempting as it would be a shorter trip but I hear Ella is better and I am concerned about packing and repacking (not easy with 2 kids) so I´d like to limit the number of hotels we stay at. Any recommendation in that regard?

4-Regarding Yala safari? Do we pay for a 2 year old? Any recommendation as to the organizer? (type of car they use, cost, etc) Evening safari or morning safari? Both?

5-I am concerned about Safety on the boat trips. For example the whale watching boat trip, do they ever use lifeackets on the boats? What about for kids?

6-Which plantations to visit and cost? (coconut, rubber, pineapple…?) any recommendation

7-A good cooperative to visit?

8-We arrive at 5am in Colombo. I am still wondering whether we should go straight to Sigiriya or whether we should stay the day and one night in Negombo. I´d like to know what you think?

I thank-you in advance for your input!

Virginie

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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52,059 posts
176 reviews
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4. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Hi again,

1] Well ideally yes but you have to 'force' them to offer block rate, not rack rate. Which depending on the hotel could be an uphill battle, sometimes their agreements with the operators and the operator sites like bookingcom forbid it. See the faq at

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g293961-c148004/Sri-L…

2] Just ask at the reception of a hotel where you have time for this. Generally easy to arrange, bring small gifts for the local kids (including at least a little bit from your country).

3] Snacks are for sale in the train, and if you book Exporail or Rajadhani they're even included in the ticket price. Yes Ella is rated more highly by most tourists than Eliya.

4] One safari suffices for most. 2Y is free. Get a jeep from nearby your hotel or through your hotel if the prices is sensible (around 4000-4500). Morning or evening depends on taste, at least evening is less intrusive in your wakeup routine etc.

5] Yes they have lifevests and should have them for kids too.

6] Tea is the most popular, and basically free including tour of a factory. Coconut picking and toddy tapping can sometimes be watched from the streets, rubber is a bit boring (the main activity is before dawn) and so is pineapple.

7] Cooperative for what? Plantation?

8] Depends on the kids response to long flights and long car trips, if they sleep through them then skip Negombo.

Have fun,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Fredericia, Denmark
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37,532 posts
7 reviews
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5. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

I doubt you will be able to get a safari jeep for LKR 4,000. LKR 5,000 seems to be the going rate now a days.

Hans

Copenhagen, Denmark
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13 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Thank-you very much Erik and Hans for the info. Very helpful!

Very interesting this hotel booking system!!

I am making my own plans and I am also in contact with Shanti travel to see if they can offer me a more interesting alternative and for a relatively good price. I realise that having a private van/ chauffeur following us around brings up the overall cost but I need to evaluate how much more expensive it gets and if it is in fact a much better solution for us. Otherwise there is always the option of find our own chauffeur/van.

Very goods tip regarding the little presents for the school children! Can you recommend anything that kids might really like? I guess there should be plenty and they should be small (no chocolate as it will melt9 how about pens?

What is toddy tapping?

Regarding the cooperative I thought about batik, wood carving…or maybe a place where they work with gem!?

We have decided we will skip Negombo and go straight to Sigiriya. We will stop at the elephant orphanage on the way. How long should we plan to be there for? Even though I am wondering if it is still a good idea as we are planning to do an elephant ride in Habarana. What are your views about the orphanage?

Warm regards from snowy Copenhagen,

Virginie

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
Level Contributor
52,059 posts
176 reviews
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7. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Hi again,

Toddy tapping is getting palm tree juice in order to make arrack out of it. Gem coops not known, woodcarving yes you can see the Ambalangoda mask factories and for batik there are probably also workshops (not necessarily coops) showing it. The guide will know.

Pinawela takes up to 2 hours and is basically a large zoo, whilst the rides in Habarana are close contact with one single jumbo. Each has its pros and cons.

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Copenhagen, Denmark
Level Contributor
13 posts
1 review
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8. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

Thank-you for your quick reply.

Will take note of all of this :o)

Virginie

negombo
4 posts
1 review
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9. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

negombo- rani beach hotel,golden star beach hotel

habarana- asnara

kandy-senani-

ella - gap -panorama

Herts
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44 posts
20 reviews
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10. Re: Family trip to Sri Lanka-Planning

We are off with a 3 and 5 year old next week. We are staying in Unuawatuna, Tanglalle, Yala, Ella, Kandy, Habarana and Negombo, all with pools. We are doing the usual excursions, whale watching, turtle hatchery, safaria, elephant riding and the orphange, We will do a cultural show, visit one or 2 temples, climb Sigirya and cant wait! We are getting a driver and can help with accomm depending on busget

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